Yes vote based on fantasy and magic
I am not aquainted with the Potter books and films, but I understand that fantastic realities and magic supply their infrastructure. A bit like the Yes campaign, actually.
Consider the other-worldly reality of the Yes campaign’s Great Leader, for example.
When EU President JM Barroso said that it would be impossible for Scotland to continue as an EU member, Alex Salmond dismissed his argument and said there would be no problem in Scotland joining.
When Chancellor Osborne stated that there could be no currency union in the event of a yes vote, Salmond said that there would and that Osborne was bluffing.
When numerous leaders of mighty corporations and huge financial institutions warned of the risks of independence Salmond dismissed them out of hand.
When President Obama said that the UK should remain united, the SNP leader replied that this was a minor intervention.
When Sweden’s foreign minister warned of the Balkanisation of the British Isles if Scotland voted yes, Alex Salmond said this was foolish and an insult.
In other words the Great Leader is right and everyone else wrong.
As for the magic element, look no further than the special phrases used by Scotland’s cargo cultists. The SNP’s abracadabra words allow the user to dispense with facts, and conjure up a rosy future which contrasts sharply with the actuality of everyday life, risk, and the laws of economics.
Here are a few of their magic words. The Levers of Power. The Fiscal Powers Given by Independence. The Arc of Prosperity. Control Our Own Destiny. Unlocking Our Potential. A Positive Vision. The National Mission.
They could all be joined together in one Yes sentence for the party faithful to chant round the peat fire, the bagpipes wailing, the drums beating, the tartan glowing, the laptops tapping, and the wind turbines motionless.
On the one hand we have an infallible leader, on the other voodoo politics.
Why should the sensible elector vote for either? The truth is that by voting No we have the guarantee of the pound sterling, with our banks supported by the Bank of England. We will continue to have unfettered access to a single market of 63million. We will avoid paying the start-up costs of 200 new institutions. Prices and interest rates will be lower, and pensions and savings will be secure.
We will continue to enjoy an open border with England, our scientists will still be able to pull and share resources across the UK, and in an increasingly hostile world we will enjoy the protection of the RN, the RAF and the British Army.
Forget the bluff and focus on the real issue
Better Together’s arguments are being systematically demolished in meeting after meeting across Scotland.
Opinion polls are moving to Yes, and even prominent figures in their own campaign have now declared they have changed their minds and will vote Yes.
Now they have decided to focus on one simple, if cynical, tactic. Ignore the argument. Scream loud accusations of vile behaviour at your opponents. Make this the issue. The actual facts are irrelevant – froth, noise and hysteria are the key to success. Demonise your opposition. The national press are your friends – use them, get the undecided public to think your opponents are not the calm, rational, friendly people they meet on the streets and in meetings, but angry, pathological zealots who stalk anyone friendly to “No” and vilify and abuse them. Abuse is easy to find. It’s one of a number of unpleasant aspects of the internet. Anonymity encourages bad behaviour in certain sorts of people.
Aggressive drivers, litter louts, the small minority of dog walkers whose animals foul our pavements and parks are encouraged by anonymity.
Abusers exist everywhere on the internet – I’ve seen some horrible examples on sports, music and celebrity pages, and no doubt model railway enthusiasts and morris dancers have their own versions. Internet abuse is noxious and cowardly. It is the darkness of any campaign.
Studies of the subject to date have shown that the amount of abuse directed at Yes campaigners by those on the No side vastly outnumbers that in the other direction.
Chris and Colin Weir, who have donated large sums to the Yes campaign, have been remorselessly vilified for doing so. There has been no visible press hysteria over this.
When George Galloway MP circulated a photograph of two fat pigs purporting to be the Weirs, I do not recall outraged headlines in any newspaper.
Also, if anyone really wishes to read abusive comments, they need go no further than online comments right across the national press. These newspapers host abuse. It is their “click-bait”, an exercise to try to boost visitor numbers, and a measure of their cynicism. Decent people, fortunately, are the overwhelming majority. None of us wants to see J. K. Rowling or the Weirs abused online.
But we can no more wish away the machinations of politicians and the outrageous behaviour of a small minority amongst us than we can guarantee sunshine.
We can, however, do ourselves one favour. We can shun abusers and manipulators of all kinds, and focus ourselves on the real issue, the compelling importance of the biggest decision any Scot has been allowed to make on the future of our country, which is now less than 100 days away.